Ra Ra Riot
Collective Concerts & Indie88 Present

Ra Ra Riot

Bayonne

Mod Club TheatreTorontoON
Ages 19+
Collective Concerts & Indie88 Present Ra Ra Riot and Bayonne

Advance tickets also available at Rotate This & Soundscapes

Ra Ra Riot – Wes Miles (vocals), Mathieu Santos (bass), Milo Bonacci (guitar), Rebecca Zeller (violinist), Kenny Bernard (drummer) – introduced its unique brand of indie pop to the world in 2006 and got off to a fast start. After signing to Barsuk, the band released four critically acclaimed records over the next 10 years including 2016’s Need Your Light, which earned praise from NPR, Pitchfork, Entertainment Weekly, Stereogum and more. That album spawned the band’s biggest hit to date, “Water,” a collaboration with longtime creative partner Rostam Batmanglij, which has streamed more than 75 million times globally. On August 9, 2019 the band returned with Superbloom, an impossibly radiant album, a selection of songs powered by the most imaginative yet indelible melodies they’ve ever dreamed up. At the same time, the band maintains the offbeat eclecticism they’ve embraced since first forming as a baroque- pop outfit back in the mid-2000s, embedding Superbloom’s lavish arrangements with elements of psychedelia, new wave, punk, and country. Lead tracks, “Bad To Worse,” “Flowers” and “Belladonna” have quickly become fan favorites.

Ra Ra Riot have continued to create some of the most fun live environments in indie rock, headlining worldwide and sharing tours with Jimmy Eat World, Third Eye Blind, Young The Giant, Death Cab For Cutie, The Postal Service, The Shins and others and impressing on festival stages including Coachella, Austin City Limits, Icelandic Airwaves Festival, Lollapalooza and more. They look forward to bringing Superbloom to life on stages around the world over the next year.

Each song on Bayonne’s Drastic Measures is orchestral in texture, unfolding in

countless layers and kaleidoscopic tones. With great intensity of detail, the Austin-

based artist otherwise known as Roger Sellers deepens that sonic complexity by

weaving in elegantly warped samples of the field recordings he’s gathered for over a

decade. But in its powerful melodies and pristine arrangements, Drastic Measures

ultimately bears a pure pop lucidity even in its most grandiose moments.

Driven by the dynamic percussion and luminous piano work signature to Bayonne’s

sound, Drastic Measures takes its title from a track that embodies the album’s central

theme: the instability inherent in an artist’s life, and the often-futile attempt to attain

balance. With its unrelenting urgency and heavy-hearted lyrics (“Common sense should

tell me that the ones I’ve sinned against say goodbye”), “Drastic Measures” looks at the

disorienting effects of constant touring. “After a while you kind of start to lose touch with

home and your friends and your family,” says Sellers. “You come back and feel like

you’ve missed out on a lot, like you’re stepping into a whole different life.” And as the

album offers up many a transcendent melody and anthemic chorus, Drastic Measures

also reflects the volatility of moods within that way of life. “There can be so many highs

and lows in such a small amount of time,” says Sellers. “I remember my parents flying to

one of my shows in Brooklyn and feeling incredibly grateful that I got to share it with

them. Just weeks before that I was touring through Germany, feeling so isolated and

lost. The ups and downs can be crazy if you don’t actively try to manage them.”

The crystalline production of Drastic Measures marks a departure from Primitives,

Bayonne’s entirely self-produced and more loosely structured full-length debut. In

shaping the immaculately composed album, Sellers partly drew inspiration from the

sublime melodicism of 1960s symphonic pop. “I spent a lot more time thinking about the

little subtleties than I ever had before, and putting more thought into the meaning behind

the songs and the best way to get that across,” he says. “It felt like a natural progression

for me—I wanted to make the music more accessible to people, including myself.”

Mixed by Beatriz Artola (Fleet Foxes, A$AP Rocky, Adele) and mastered by Josh Bonati

(Mac DeMarco, !!!, Zola Jesus)—but fully produced and mostly tracked by Sellers

himself—Drastic Measures also finds the multi-instrumentalist enlisting several close

musician friends to instill the songs with a more kinetic energy.

As Drastic Measures muses on such matters as fractured relationships and the erosion

of mental health, Bayonne builds a dizzying tension between the album’s bright and

dark elements. On “Uncertainly Deranged,” skittering beats and shining piano tones

clash with lyrics echoing the anxiety of self-doubt. One of the most delicate and simply

adorned tracks on the album, “Same” spins a gentle reverie out of a moment of wistful

longing. And on “I Know,” bouncy rhythms and whistled melodies make a brilliant

backdrop to Bayonne’s meditation on overwhelming remorse.

Further revealing the inventive instincts behind Bayonne’s artistry, “I Know” opens with

a fragment from his vast collection of field recordings. “It almost sounds like a ship, but it

came from a recording of a street drummer playing on a bunch of paint cans,” Sellers

notes. Although his library is mostly made up of everyday sounds—birds chirping,

people talking in restaurants, feet stomping through fallen leaves—Sellers typically

distorts the recordings to give them a more surreal quality. On the sprawling

instrumental centerpiece “Enders,” for instance, he constructed a beautifully eerie

sample by altering the creak of an oven door. “At first I was trying to get a sort of horror-

movie sound effect out of it, but I ended up manipulating it so it sounds like a dolphin or

a whale or some other kind of underwater creature,” says Sellers.

Throughout the album, Sellers matches his bursts of experimentation with the graceful

piano playing he’s honed since he was a little kid. Halfway through high school, he

started writing his own material, and self-recording with the help of his family’s tape

machine. By his early 20s he’d discovered minimalist composers like Steve Reich and

Terry Reilly, which led him to infuse an atmospheric, ethereal quality into much of his

work. And with the release of Primitives in spring 2016, Sellers adopted the moniker of

Bayonne as a way to distinguish his more electronically crafted output from his other

musical projects. “I’d been playing a lot of shows with a very folk-based set, so using a

different name was a way to separate those two personalities,” he explains.

In bringing Drastic Measures to life, Sellers merged his increasingly classic-pop-inspired

sensibilities with a production approach closely focused on looping, layering, and

overdubbing. “Even if you hear something simple like clapping or finger snaps, it’s

probably layered 10 or 20 times,” he says. “I just like to stack and layer everything to get

these big sounds, and create a really wide sonic space within the songs.”

No matter how big those sounds become, Bayonne maintains a certain sense of

intimacy throughout Drastic Measures—an effect that has much to do with his playful

use of the field recordings he’s captured since he was a teenager. “A lot of the time, I

put them so far in the background that you might not even hear it,” says Sellers. “But

that’s how I like it—I like having these little memories built up and then sticking them

randomly in places all over the album. It’s almost like having some kind of diary within

the music, and it gives it so much more meaning when I go back and listen.”

Venue Information:
Mod Club Theatre
722 College St. W
Toronto, ON, M6G 1C5